Chief Executive Officer – Joe Lopano
Mr. Joseph Lopano, Chief Executive Officer
P.O. Box 22287
Tampa, FL 33622-2287
PH: (813) 870-8701, F: (813) 875-6670
Aviation Authority Chief Executive Officer Joseph W. Lopano reports to the Board of Directors.
Joe arrived in Tampa on January 1, 2011, as Tampa International Airport’s new Chief Executive Officer. Prior to accepting the CEO position in Tampa, he worked at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport for 14 years as its Executive Vice President for Marketing and Terminal Management. Prior to his work at DFW, Joe held leadership positions at Continental Airlines.
Joe serves on the boards of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance, the U.S. Travel Association’s Gateway Airports Council and the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization. He is a member of the executive committees for the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, the Airports Council International–North America U.S. Policy Board and the Tony Jannus Society. He is an Honorary Commander at MacDill Air Force Base, and was selected to participate in Leadership Florida.
Joe was named Visit Tampa Bay’s 2015 Ambassador of the Year and received the 2015 Aviation Professional of the Year Award from the Florida Department of Transportation.
Joe received a bachelor’s in finance and accounting from Pace University in New York and completed graduate work in marketing at the University of Connecticut. He and his wife, Janet, live in South Tampa and have three grown children.
HCAA Executive Team
The Executive Team leads a staff of 625 full-time employees of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority who are responsible for the daily operation, administration and maintenance of Tampa International Airport and its three general aviation airports.
HCAA Board of Directors
The Aviation Authority is governed by a five-member Board of Directors. Three members are residents of Hillsborough County appointed by the Governor of the State of Florida for four-year terms. The Mayor of the City of Tampa and a board member of the County Commissioners of Hillsborough County serve ex officio on the board. The gubernatorial appointments occur at two-year intervals, and at these times the Board reorganizes itself, electing officers for the ensuing two years.
Mr. Robert I. Watkins, Chairman
Robert Watkins & Company
610 S. Boulevard, Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606
PH: (813) 254-3369, F: (813) 253-3280
Gary W. Harrod, Vice Chairman
Harrod Properties, Inc.
5550 W. Executive Drive, Suite 550
Tampa, FL 33609
PH: (813) 229-1500, F: (813) 221-1570
Sam Rashid, Treasurer
Holtec USA Corporation
2802 Sydney Road
Plant City, FL 33566
PH: (813) 754-1665
Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Assistant Secretary, Assistant Treasurer
306 E. Jackson St.
Tampa, FL 33602
PH: (813) 274-8251, F: (813) 274-7050
The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority
The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority is an independent special district of the State of Florida, established by the 1945 Florida Legislature with exclusive jurisdiction, control, supervision and management over all publicly owned airports in Hillsborough County.
The Special Act creating the Aviation Authority specifically addresses the importance of the county’s airports to Florida’s economic health and tourism industry, specifically stating:
“The economic validity and stability of the publicly owned or operated airports in the county is a matter of statewide importance.”
“The policy of this state is to promote the development of commerce and tourism to secure to the people of this state the benefits of those activities conducted in the state.”
Under the act, the Aviation Authority has the full prerogatives of a public corporation. A key feature in the structure of the Aviation Authority is the requirement that all Aviation Authority funds be kept separate from all other governmental units and used only for aviation purposes. The Act also gives the Aviation Authority the power to promulgate and enforce all rules and regulations required for the proper operation of its facilities.
The Authority is a self-supporting organization and generates revenues from airport users to fund operating expenses and debt service requirements. Capital projects are funded through bonds, short-term financing, passenger facility charges, federal and state grants, and internally generated funds. Although empowered to levy ad valorem property taxes, the Authority has not collected any tax funds since 1973.
You can read the entire act here: Aviation Authority's Enabling Act.pdf
The mission of the Authority is to be a major driver in the economic growth of the Tampa Bay region. We will be leading-edge innovators to create global access and extraordinary customer experiences through our people and facilities to build prosperity for our stakeholders and the region.
The vision of the Authority is to be a vibrant aviation gateway for Tampa Bay, providing access and economic opportunity for our stakeholders.